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Facing up to twenty years in a Cuban prison, my father had to make the hardest decision of his life; remain in Cuba and go to prison or find a way to escape to the United States.
The climate in a Fidel Castro led communist country was just too much to bear, and carrying the last name Ochoa, meant we would always be a target. His decision would mean that we would have to risk everything, including our lives, for a chance at a better future.
Under normal circumstances, the decision to provide your family with a better future wouldn't be a hard one to make. It would in fact be the absolute easiest decision that you would ever be faced with.
But it was 1994, it was Cuba, and these circumstances were anything but normal.
CONTENT WARNINGS: This memoir covers a range of true events and experiences that can be triggering, including but not limited to: Death and near-death experiences by various means, suicide by others in the detention camps, self-harm by others in the detention camps, mentions of domestic violence by a parent, mentions of alcoholism by a parent